Very Right, Sir

The Story of “VERY RIGHT SIR” – Spoof by Vikram Karve

I once had a colleague in the Navy who was nicknamed “Very Right Sir”.

It was the welcome party of our new boss.

I was in high spirits after imbibing a few glasses of my customary “Rum Pani” (a large peg of Dark Hercules Rum with Water).


Now this new boss was a strict teetotaller.

I did not know that he was a non-drinker – since I was not “tactful” enough to do my “homework” on my new incoming boss.

Our new boss was holding a glass of Orange Juice in his hand.

The new boss looked at the glass of “Rum Pani” in my hand – and he said to me:

“You seem to be a heavy drinker. Don’t you know that alcohol is bad for your health…?”

“Very Right, Sir. Very Right, Sir…” said my “tactful” colleague called “Very Right Sir”.

He too was holding a similar looking glass of Orange Juice drink in his hand.

Then our boss looked disapprovingly at my glass of Rum and he admonished me:


You are drinking Rum…?

Don’t you know that Rum is a crude drink…?

Rum is meant for sailors – not for officers.

It is most “un-officer-like” to drink Rum.

If you can’t stop drinking – at least you better start drinking something more decent and officer-like.”

“Very Right, Sir. Very Right, Sir…” parroted my colleague called “Very Right Sir”.

One year later this “Teetotaller Boss” was transferred out – and now – we were having the welcome party for the new boss.


Now this new boss was a “Boozer” – one of those quintessential “down the hatch” hard-drinking Navy “Sea-Dog” types.

It was the height of summer – a very hot and sultry evening.

I was feeling dehydrated after a hard day’s work – so I decided to start off with a glass of Orange Juice.

Our new “Boozer Boss” walked over to us.

As usual – my “tactful” colleague “Very Right Sir” was fawning around the new boss – not leaving his side even for a moment.

The new Boss was carrying a glass of Rum in his hand.

Our new “Boozer Boss” looked at me.

Then – he looked suspiciously at the glass of Orange Juice in my hand – and – the new “Boozer Boss” asked me:

“What are you drinking…?”

“Orange Juice, Sir…” I said.

My new “Boozer Boss” bellowed at me:


You are drinking Juice…?

Orange Juice…?

That’s a bloody “Ladies’ Drink”…”

“Very Right, Sir – Very Right, Sir… Orange Juice is a “Ladies’ Drink”…” echoed my “tactful” colleague who we called “Very Right Sir”.

I was bewildered when I heard the words of “Very Right Sir”.

I thought that my “tactful” colleague “Very Right Sir” was a teetotaller – so I was shocked to see him with a glass of Rum in his hand.

Earlier – when our erstwhile “Teetotaller Boss” was around – my “tactful” colleague “VERY RIGHT SIR” professed to being a strict teetotaller.

But now – in the presence of our new “Boozer Boss” – my “tactful” colleague “VERY RIGHT SIR” had a glass of Rum in his hand – just like the new boss.

Yes – my “tactful” colleague “Very Right Sir” had a glass of “Rum Pani” in his hand.

Our new “Boozer Boss” took a gulp of Rum.

And – so did my “tactful” colleague “Very Right Sir” – he too took a gulp of Rum – almost mimicking the new “Boozer Boss”.

Our new “Boozer Boss” looked around at what everyone was drinking.

He made mocking comments about beer, whisky, gin, vodka and cocktails etc.

And then – our new “Boozer Boss” said to us:

“You all must drink Rum.

Rum is a man’s drink – a true sailor’s drink…”

“Very Right, Sir – Very Right, Sir…” said my “tactful” colleague “Very Right Sir”.

Our “Boozer Boss” downed his glass of rum in one big gulp – “down the hatch”.

And – so did my “tactful” colleague “Very Right Sir” – he too downed his glass of rum in one go – down-the-hatch.

After observing for a few days – we discovered that our “tactful” colleague “Very Right Sir” even used to “mirror” the movements and actions of the boss.

By his “matching and mirroring” technique – my “tactful” colleague “Very Right Sir” used to almost imitate the boss – albeit in a subtle way – and the boss seemed to like it.

Later – we realized that he was adept at “matching and mirroring” and imitative behavior – and all his bosses seemed to like it.

After all – imitation is the best form of flattery.

This “chameleon” “Very Right Sir” was the darling of this boss – just like he had always been the favourite blue-eyed boy of all his bosses – past and future.

Needless to say – my friend called “Very Right Sir” rose to great heights in his career.

Later – when “Very Right Sir” reached high rank – it was quite amusing to observe this bootlicker trying to masquerade as a leader over officers with genuine leadership qualities.

Yes – sycophants like “Very Right Sir” lorded over professionally excellent and morally upright officers – who were passed over for promotion – and had to suffer the pain of supersession in the Navy careers.

It was sad to see the humiliation these professionally competent officers had to suffer – when they had to serve under such shrewd bootlickers and street-smart sycophants who had leapfrogged ahead due to their sycophancy and “Savoir Faire”.


I was under the impression that with changing times – as society became more modern and progressive – the undesirable culture of sycophancy would decrease – especially in the uniformed Defence Services.

I thought that the Armed Forces would shed their antiquated colonial feudal culture.

I thought that the Defence Services would adopt a modern outlook and progressive culture to be in sync with changing times.

I was wrong.

Strange – but true.

We thought sycophancy would decrease in the Defence Services.

But sadly – sycophancy has actually increased in the Armed Forces – especially among senior officers.

You just have to look at the body language of these sycophant officers in front of their seniors – and especially in the presence of politicians or high civilian dignitaries – and you will understand what I mean.

There is a perception that Senior Officers of the Defence Services have become totally subservient to Politicians and Civil Services – and many Senior Officers have forgotten the “Chetwode Credo”.

Whenever I see such “successful” toadies and “yes-men” – obsequious sycophants (also called as “Bootlickers” and with other worse epithets in the military) – I remember the story of my “Savoir Faire” friend called “Very Right Sir”.


A few days ago – a young man asked me:

“What is the key to success in the Defence Services…?”

In my earlier days – I would have given the young man my customary inspirational sermon – a motivational “Moral Lecture” extolling erstwhile “Officer Like Qualities” (OLQ) – like sincerity – dedication to duty – hard-work – professionalism – impeccable character and conduct – adherence to the “Chetwode Credo” etc etc.

But – times have changed – values have changed – and – military ethos and service culture has changed too.

So – I told him:

“If you want to succeed in the Defence Services and reach high rank – besides the various usual Military OLQ attributes – you must have “Savoir Faire”…”

“Savoir Faire…? What does that mean…?” the young man asked me.

“Well – “Savoir Faire” means “Tactfulness” – “Social Savvy” – “a sort of Astute Finesse”…” I said.

The young man looked confused.

So – I told him the story of “Very Right Sir”


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This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Link to my original post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve:

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This is a Revised and Abridged Version of My Story VERY RIGHT SIR Earlier Posted Online by me Vikram Karve in my various blogs and also in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog – posted by me a times, including at urls: and and and and and and etc

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